All by April: An Open Letter from
Pro-Democracy Philanthropy

Nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations are a cornerstone of our democracy and play a critical role in ensuring that our elections are free, fair, and representative. These civic groups work to reduce barriers to voting, combat misinformation, and protect the rights of Americans throughout the election process. They help recruit poll workers, organize nonpartisan voter registration drives, support local election officials, and work to ensure that the diversity of our electorate is represented in our election process. These dedicated pro-democracy organizations connect voters to the ballot and help protect the integrity of our election system. As funders and donors, we hear the same thing from our grantee partners after every election cycle:

The money came too late.

This is particularly true for smaller, grassroots organizations and for groups led by and based in communities of color.

As pro-democracy funders and donors, we know early resources are essential for groups on the ground. It allows organizations to plan confidently, hire and train staff, develop better messaging and tactics, and lock-in lower-cost rates for many expenses. Early money enables groups to support communities during primary elections to identify concerns that need to be addressed ahead of November. As more and more jurisdictions allow for early and mail-in voting, nonprofits have even less time to plan their programs and need resources sooner. Further, nonprofits that are funded earlier are better prepared to put late money to more effective use.

We know that our own grantmaking timelines and practices are at the heart of the challenge. So, this year, we’re doing something about it. We’re pledging to make commitments earlier and to move funds sooner. We’re going to move all we can by the end of April.

Each of us – whether a foundation, a pooled fund, a donor network, an individual donor, a donor advisor, or other philanthropy professional – has committed to review our own election-related gifts, move faster wherever possible, and encourage our partners across philanthropy to do the same. This could look like:

  • Make all or most of our grant commitments by the end of April.
  • Make grant or donation payments by the end of April.
  • Move up disbursements of multiyear grants that had been scheduled for later in the year.
  • Streamline processes, especially for renewal grants.
  • Provide general support grants, which are helpful to grantees and often faster for us.
  • Trust our grantees and leaning on trusted peers’ diligence.

Actions will look different for each of us. Some of us will be able to make all of our grant commitments by the end of April. Others will be able to streamline renewal processes or will find other ways to ease the burdens of our grantee partners. Those of us who are donor advisors or funder networks will encourage our partners to adopt these practices. We will be challenging ourselves and sharing ideas with each other.

This is not intended to discourage donors from addressing needs that are identified later in the cycle, but rather to encourage our peers across philanthropy to not wait to fund the critical and urgent work that must be supported now. We realize this effort isn’t enough to address the systemic funding challenges that the field faces, including the boom-and-bust cycle of election-year funding, but we hope it’s a start.

We call on our philanthropic peers to join us. Make the pledge to provide early support to the organizations that help uphold our democracy. Move election funds faster wherever possible and encourage your networks to do the same. Our grantees and our democracy will be stronger for it.

 

All by April is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) philanthropic campaign working to ensure that U.S. elections are free, fair, and representative.

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174 supporters have signed as of July 20, 2024

14 of those supporters have signed anonymously.

Democracy Fund
Open Society Foundations
The JPB Foundation

AAPI Civic Engagement Fund

Abbey Banks

Akaya Windwood

Alta Futures

Amalgamated Foundation

American Citzenship Project

Arabella Advisors

Arca Foundation

Ariane van Buren

Arlene Levy

Aviv Foundation

Becky Silverstein

Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust

Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation

Bia Vieira, Women's Foundation California

Charles F. Kettering Foundation

Conant Family Foundation

Crankstart

Dave Burd

David Callahan

David Lee

David Rockefeller Fund

David Slifka

Davis Squared Consulting

Democracy Alliance

Democracy Funders Network

Dietel and Partners

Donors of Color Network

Doug Edwards

East Bay Latina Giving Circle of the Latino Community Foundation

Educational Foundation of America

Eileen Farbman

Elizabeth Allison Thomas

Elmina B. Sewall Foundation

Entertainment 2 Affect Change (E2AC)

Erinn Andrews

Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

Evie Lovett

Focus for Democracy

Four Freedoms Fund

Funders for LGBTQ Issues

Funders' Committee for Civic Participation

Gaia Fund

Galaxy Gives

General Service Foundation

Geneva Global

Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees

Grantmakers for Southern Progress

Greenbridge Family Foundation

Hallie Iglehart Austen

Harold Erdman

Hispanics in Philanthropy

Institute for Wise Philanthropy

Investing in US

James B. McClatchy Foundation

Jason Berkenfeld

Jason Franklin

Jill Anderson, PhD

Julia Da Silva

Justin Buell

Karen Grove

Karla Jurvetson

Katrina Anderson

Katz Amsterdam Foundation and Charitable Trust

Ktisis Capital

Kylie Flanagan

Larry Ottinger

Latino Community Foundation

Laughing Gull Foundation

Laurie Emrich

Leena Barakat

Leland Fikes Foundation

Libra Foundation

Lijphart Family Fund, East Bay Community Foundation

Marcia Lovelace & Dennis Fagaly

Marissa and Ryan Hersh

Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation

McKnight Foundation

Merck Family Fund

Mertz Gilmore Foundation

Michael Gast

Michelle Puckett

Michie Impact Fund & ImpactFull, Inc.

Moon Song Fund

Move Money Shift Power

Movement Voter Fund

Natembea Foundation

National Center for Family Philanthropy

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

NEO Philanthropy

New Tudor Foundation

New Venture Fund

New York Foundation

Northern California Grantmakers

OAAHC

One for Democracy

Panorama Global / The Ascend Fund

Park Foundation

Patrice K Aaron

Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund

Phīla Engaged Giving

Philanthropy for Voter Engagement: a project of Nonprofit VOTE

philippe villers

Pro-Democracy Center

Propel Democracy Forward Fund

Public Wise

Rachel Sheinbein

Raikes Foundation

Ray Colmenar

Rebecca Balter

Regan Pritzker

RepresentUs

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Rusty Stahl

Ruth Ann Binder

Sagner Family Foundation

Sam Vinal

Scarlet Feather Fund

Seattle Foundation

Shannon Cofrin Gaggero

Shannon Hunt-Scott

Social Impact Exchange

Solidaire Network

Solidarity Giving

Square One Foundation

State Infrastructure Fund

State Leadership Project

Susan Boren King

Susan Pritzker

The Arkay Foundation

The California Donor Table Fund

The Communications Network

The George Gund Foundation

The Grove Foundation

The Joyce Foundation

The Overbrook Foundation

The Packard Foundation

The Prentice Foundation

The Puffin Foundation

Third Plateau/Hirsch Philanthropy Partners

Threshold Foundation

Tides

Tracy Hewat

Tricia Wilson

Trusted Elections Fund

U.S. Energy Foundation

Ulysses Lateiner & Diane Bulpett

Unite America

Unite and Renew

United Philanthropy Forum

Wallace Global Fund

Way to Rise

WhyNot Initiative

Willow Fund

Yolanda Hippensteele